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On Bette Davis, I don't hate Bette Davis even though the press wants me to. I resent her. I don't see how she built a career out of a set of mannerisms, instead of real acting ability. Take away the pop eyes, the cigarette, and those funny clipped words and what have you got? She's phoney, but I guess the public really likes that.

Despite the fact that she kept the information a closely guarded secret and continued to lie about exactly how old she was, Joan Crawford would have been 101 on 23rd March this year. One of Hollywood’s most iconic divas, Crawford is probably best remembered for her off-stage bitter rivalry with fellow actress, Bette Davis as well as her many stunning performances (Grand Hotel, 1932; The Women, 1939; Humoresque, 1946; Johnny Guitar, 1954; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, 1962). Branded ‘box-office poison’ in 1938, she spent two years without work having been sacked by MGM. However, she managed to persuade Warner Bros to give her another chance and they weren’t disappointed, she starred in Mildred Pierce (1945) and won her first and only Best Actress Academy Award.

On March 23rd, the day she would have been 101 years old, TCM pays tribute to the great Joan Crawford.

12:50 Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star|2002
In this documentary on the life of Joan Crawford, we learn why she should be remembered as the great actress she was, and not only as the "mommie dearest" caricature with which her name has become synonymous. Friends, fellow actors, directors, and others reminisce about their personal experiences of the great woman whilst numerous film clips show how her career began in silent films continuing through to her roles in science fiction/horror movies toward the end of her career. Her daughter Christina Crawford gives a further insight even explaining the origin of the phrase "No more wire hangers!"

14:35 Mildred Pierce|1945
s: Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Jo Ann Marlow, Bruce Bennett, Zachary Scott
d: Michael Curtiz

Housewife turned entrepreneur, Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) has to provide for her daughters, Veda (Ann Blyth) and Kay (Jo Ann Marlow), when her husband, Bert (Bruce Bennett), leaves. Her restaurant business burgeons and she marries rich playboy Monte Baragon (Zachary Scott), later becoming key witness in a murder trial involving her scheming daughter, Veda.

Based James M Cain’s novel, Mildred Pierce followed his successful Double Indemnity (1944). The film received six Oscar nominations resulting in a Best Actress win for Crawford and nominations for Ann Blyth and Eve Arden in the Best Supporting Actress category. Crawford’s declining career was rejuvenated with this success and despite some differences she managed to work well with director, Michael Curtiz.

16:40 The Women|1939
s: Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Joan Fontaine
d: George Cukor

An all-star female cast feature in this tale of divorce, cattiness and competition among a circle of high society friends. Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) has reason to panic when venomous shop girl Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford) gets her hooks into her man. This adaptation of Clare Boothe Luce's play, proved a perfect vehicle for snappy and hilarious exchanges between the two actresses.

Directed by ‘woman’s director’ George Cukor the film was made at a time of female prominence in Hollywood. There are over 130 roles in this movie all played by women. Joan Crawford received rave reviews for her bitchy characterisation of Crystal Allen. The cast also boasted, Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Hedda Hopper and Paulette Godard.

TCM (Turner Classic Movies) draws from an extensive library of movies ranging from the 1920s to 1990s presenting them in a contemporary style that reinterprets their place in history and their relevance to people's lives today. TCM brings the silver screen to life by offering viewers exclusive in-depth celebrity interviews, monthly star tributes, special events and original screen tests. Along with hosted seasons with contemporary moviemakers and experts, TCM gives this definitive classic movie channel a style of its own. It is available via cable, satellite and digital terrestrial throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East in six regional versions in ten languages: English, Danish, Dutch, French, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Spanish, Norwegian and Swedish.

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Tel: +44 20 7693 1117

Kirsty Philp
Tel: +44 20 7693 0648

March 2005

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